In the past few years, I’ve learned how to make the most of my life and travel constantly. In this past year alone I’ve lived in Germany, been to Boston twice, Amsterdam once, Florida once, and moved to Costa Rica which I’ve already explored rather thoroughly. So, how do I do it? Well…I’ll tell you.
Prioritize Your Money:
I prioritize new experiences over anything else (OK not over my family, but over most things). You don’t need to make travel your number one priority, but it does need to take preference over some other things that you may be spending money on.
For example, a few months ago I read an article in a popular American magazine that stated the average American woman spends $200 a month on beauty related products. This includes shampoo and toothpaste, but still. $200! To me, that number is insane. Maybe you think it is crazy too, but start thinking about it a bit. Maybe there are services or products in your life that you pay for which are not really necessary, and I don’t just mean related to beauty. Do you really need that $4 Starbucks drink every morning on your way to work? Is it necessary to buy a new pair of shoes for that wedding your going to next week when you have twenty pairs in your closet? Do you need to get your nails done once a month, or could you possibly do them yourselves?
Now, I’m not saying get rid of all things you like buying in your life. I too enjoy the occasional expensive drink from Starbucks, but everything in moderation, right?
If you cut out your $4 Starbucks drink for a month that $120 right there.
See? By putting travel as a priority and actively thinking about it, you can reduce your typical monthly expensive and save more for your next trip.
One of the biggest reason people (especially in the US) don’t travel is because they don’t have the time. This honestly breaks my heart. I could talk for days and days about it, but I’ll try to keep it brief. People in the US are overworked. You have one of the lowest numbers of vacation days in the world. It’s hard to get away on a nice trip to an exotic destination when you literally don’t have the time. Now, this translates into a whole other boatload of issues such as lacking a worldview, but that is a rant for another day.
So what can you do?
Honestly, I don’t really know. I could tell you to be like me and quit your job and move to a country which understands the need for work-life balance, but I understand not everyone has that option. If you do however have that option, go for it.
The best suggestion I have for you is to either take lots of little short trips throughout the year, or save your days up to take one big trip a year.
I personally like to take lots of little trips because if I have to go a whole year without a trip I tend to get extremely restless.
Book A Cheap Flight:
To take lots of little trips I suggest checking out the website Skyscanner. I like Skyscanner because they have this awesome “Everywhere” feature. How it works is you type in your departure city and in the destination field type “everywhere.” Then just put in the dates you would like to travel. Skyscanner then provides you a detailed list of the cheapest places that you can fly to on those dates.
WOW is, well, it’s wow! With WOW you can fly round trip from several locations in the US to multiple locations in Europe for under $300 round trip. They also offer you an extended stopover in Iceland at no extra cost. I have yet to use WOW, but I’m definitely trying to plan on using it soon.
Spirit is great for locations within the US and several locations within Central and South America. I personally use Spirit to go from Costa Rica to Florida to visit my grandmother. I never pay more than $150 roundtrip. I will say, they don’t provide any food or drinks and you have to pay extra for a bag, but every time I’ve flown with them the planes have been fairly empty and I’ve had whole rows to myself.
Look online for other discount airlines. Sometimes these airlines do not show up in the search results of your favorite flight booking site, so you need to search for them separately.
Save on Accommodations:
I find that I often book flights and think, “Sweet, I got a great deal,” only to then realize that every hotel in the location I’m going to is at least $200 a night. I have a few suggestions for those of you looking to save some money.
Airbnb– If you’ve never used Airbnb before you should check it out here. The concept is that you rent an accommodation (room, apartment, house, villa) from a host. I’ve personally had really good luck with Airbnb and it has become my go-to way to travel. Always read the reviews of places first and contact multiple people for the best results. With Airbnb I was able to stay on a houseboat in Amsterdam (it was really freaking cool) and paid $60 a night for an apartment in South Beach, Miami over New Years Eve. I wasn’t able to find a hotel in the same area on those dates for under $300.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before you can sign up here for free and get $20 off your first booking courtesy of me!! 🙂
Hostels- Hostels are the best way to budget travel. Hostels maybe conger up images of a bunch of people in bunk beds, but not all hostels are like that. It is often possible to get a single room or a double room to share with your partner at a really low price. You may have to share a bathroom with some other people, but that’s doable, right? I also like hostels because they are a great way to meet other budget travelers that can help you to find cheap interesting activities to do. Check out HostelWorld for an extensive list of hostels worldwide.
Hotels-Hotels don’t necessarily have to be expensive. I use Agoda as my go to hotel search engine. I really like their search features and always find the best hotel deals through them.
Other Options- Check out Couchsurfing (sleeping on someone’s couch for free) Workaway (free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work) and Trusted Housesitters (watch someone’s house and maybe do some light work in exchange for a place to stay).
Live Like A Local:
When on vacation you’re obviously going to want to indulge in some fancy meals and new experiences, but try to balance that with living like a local. Check out where all the locals are going to eat, and eat there. Or, ask at your hotel. They should be able to point you in the right direction. I find that these restaurants tend to be a great way to better understand a new culture and they are often much cheaper than the places catered towards tourists.
Save On Transportation:
Renting a car is not cheap. In fact, it can sometimes end up being the most expensive part of your trip. It is not always fun to have to depend on public transportation, but it is much more cost effective. Do a bit of research and see if it is possible to do and see all the things you would like to see by local trains and buses.
Other great options are renting bikes within the city you are traveling or renting a car just for a day to get to the destination you would like to go to and then renting another car for your trip back.
With these tips you will be making great travel memories in no time. Time to start booking your next adventure!
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